Leinster 37 - 9 Cardiff Blues
Fri 08 September 19:35 RDS Arena Att: 13,535 Ref: Andy Brace Guinness Pro14

Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues

Fri 8 Sep 2017 11:25 Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues
The Blues were humbled at Cardiff Arms Park last week, slipping to a first loss to Edinburgh in six Championship encounters.

Looking for a reaction from his side this week, Danny Wilson has made six changes, with Steven Shingler handed the number 10 jersey, replacing Jarrod Evans.

Rhun Williams returns from injury to take his place at full-back, while Garyn Smith and Tom James are also added to the backline.

In the forwards, Nick Williams and Taufa’ao Filise are ruled out, with Macauley Cook and Keiron Assiratti taking their place in the pack.

While the Blues lost, the Irish capital side got off to a winning start last weekend, as five tries proved enough to seal a 39-16 victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Cullen has made _ changes for Leinster’s opening home game of the campaign, with Devin Toner in line to make his 200th appearance for the province.

The backline contains a mix of youth and experience, as the likes of Rob Kearney and Isa Nacewa are named alongside Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin and Jordan Larmour.

Summer recruit Scott Fardy partners Toner in the boiler room, and the Australian adds to the wealth of experience in the pack, all of which have featured on the international stage.

Robbie Henshaw, Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong, Sean O’Brien and Gary Ringrose are amongst those unavailable for selection due to injury.

Last season’s clash at Dublin saw Leinster sneak away with a 22-21 victory, despite a stunning counter-attacking performance by Cardiff Blues, who scored three tries through Sion Bennett and a Tomos Williams brace.

What They Said:

Danny Wilson has challenged his side to respond to last week’s home defeat, but expects to face a typically tough Leinster side.

"The Edinburgh performance didn't look any better on Monday but hopefully it is a quick fix. We have done some pretty physical contact work this week to put it right because it's not like us,” said Wilson.

"A week before we were extremely physical against a big Exeter side but we didn't see that same edge and presence against Edinburgh. That's the disappointing thing, especially when it's your first home game in the league

"We have dealt with it, we have moved on and I know with this group we can bounce back and there is no better challenge than away to Leinster.

"Their defence was extremely aggressive against the Dragons and they have increased their line-speed. 

"They were heavily competing at the breakdowns, especially in the wide channels and they obviously play a very attractive brand of rugby while also being able to overpower teams with a big pack of forwards.

"Leinster in Leinster is always a huge challenge whichever team you play but it's one we will be motivated for.

"Last year we took them to the wire in a game which was won by one point and was arguably a game we could have nicked. 

"It's a strong test but we will draw on the confidence from the way we performed there last season and can hopefully produce something similar.”

Scrum half, Lloyd Williams revealed it has been a tough week in training and insists the clash is a perfect opportunity for his side to make their mark and bounce back from the loss to Edinburgh.

“It’s what we need. They are one of the best teams in the league. It’s a great game to bounce back in,” said Williams.

“We have spoken about it in the week. It was a bit of a reality check and the sessions have been very physical this week.

“We let ourselves down against Edinburgh and we need to react. We have got to front up and put right a few things we weren’t good at on the weekend

“We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our supporters.

“Sometimes you have to put your hand up and say we weren’t at the races and why was that and put it right.

“If no-one does that we are not going to get anywhere.

“It’s been a step in the right direction this week as we’ve had people saying it wasn’t good enough.

“Ultimately, as individuals, you have got to turn up at the games. If you can’t get up for your first home game there’s something wrong.”